How To Plan The Best Africa Safari To The Selous Game Reserve : A Complete Guide : The Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s biggest game reserves, occupies about 20,000 square kilometers in southeast Tanzania. Although the area was first set aside as a protected area by the German Governor of Tanganyika, Hermann von Wissmann, in 1896, its astounding wildlife diversity and unaltered natural landscapes have seen it designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area was established as a hunting reserve in 1905, and it was later given Frederick Selous’ name. During World War I, this big game hunter and conservationist lost his life at Beho-Beho (which is located within the present-day Selous Game Reserve) while battling the Germans.
The northern region of the Selous Game Reserve along the Rufiji River is a well-liked safari destination and photography zone, despite the fact that many areas of the reserve are still used for game hunting as privately leased concessions. High-end lodges and camps are scattered throughout it, and they offer daily game drives, walking safaris, boat safaris, and opportunities to see animals as they rest along the banks of the Rufiji River.
The Selous Game Reserve is not the easiest place to reach on a Tanzania safari by road, but it is well-served by flights and can even be reached by rail. It is a fantastic option for those who want to visit several parks during their Tanzania safari tour because it is a part of the Southern Safari Circuit, which also includes the Ruaha National Park, the Mikumi National Park, and the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
Selous has been referred to as one of the best-preserved African wildernesses and is not to be missed because of the vast number of animals there. Here are a few reasons to think about the Selous Game Reserve for your next Tanzania safari, especially if you’ve already visited the Northern Safari Circuit or want to avoid the crowds.
WHAT ANIMALS CAN YOU SEE IN THE SELOUS GAME RESERVE?
The Selous Game Reserve is a breathtaking natural destination that includes extensive Miombo woodlands, wetlands, and savannahs covered in Acacia trees. The Rufiji River is where most of the wildlife activity happens, and the stunning, 100-meter-deep Stigler Gorge is another popular tourist destination. Despite having some of the lowest densities of any reserve, Selous is home to some of Africa’s largest populations of species.
The Selous Game Reserve is home to one of the largest populations of lions in Africa, as well as large numbers of hippos and between 120,000 and 150,000 buffalo. Additionally, it sustains healthy populations of Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, eland, giraffe, greater kudu, waterbuck, and wildebeest, in addition to zebra, impala, and wildebeest.
The reserve is also regarded as a crucial refuge for the critically endangered African wild dog, in addition to sable and puku antelope. With the addition of spotted hyena, leopard, black rhino, and Nile crocodile, it is understandable why Selous is well-known among those who enjoy going on safari. Approximately 109,000 elephants once lived in the park (at the time, this was the largest population in the world), but due to poaching, there are now only about 13,000 left.
In addition to its wildlife, the Selous Game Reserve is home to over 440 different species of birds. On the lakes and rivers, keep an eye out for African skimmers, giant kingfishers, yellow-billed storks, spur-winged plovers, and fish eagles. During the winter, the Malagasy squacco heron frequently visits, and in the forested areas, trumpeter hornbills and purple-crested turacos can be seen.
The Selous Game Reserve is primarily explored by daytime game drives (night safaris are not permitted), with the majority of operators leaving in the early morning and late afternoon when the wildlife is most active. Incredibly popular boat safaris along the lakes and rivers let you get up close to animals like crocodiles and hippos.
The majority of the lodges also provide walking safaris, which are a distinctive way to see a variety of birds and big game. An additional unforgettable way to see Selous is on a fly camping trip, where you’ll be treated to a bush dinner and spend the night at a makeshift camp under the stars. Even though there are wild animals all around, you will always be accompanied by an armed scout to ensure your safety. This may sound frightening to some.
HOW TO GET TO THE SELOUS GAME RESERVE
The main entry point for most visitors to the Selous Game Reserve is the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. From here, it takes a full day to travel along winding, dusty roads. To break up the trip, many safari companies include a stop at Mikumi National Park. You can observe how Tanzanian rural communities function by traveling through Morogoro, which is surrounded by the magnificent Uluguru Mountains.
Although there are daily scheduled flights from Zanzibar to Selous, most tourists choose to fly in from Dar es Salaam or visit the game reserve after a beach vacation there. If you want to visit the Selous Game Reserve along with Tanzania’s Northern Safari Circuit or the Serengeti Great migration, you can also arrange a flight from Arusha or the Serengeti.
The alternative route is to take the Tanzania-Zambia Railway from Dar es Salaam to Matambwe, which is located north of the Selous Game Reserve and south of Mikumi National Park’s entrance. Without the road’s jolts, it’s a beautiful way to see Tanzania’s bush while also getting to know the locals.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE SELOUS GAME RESERVE
The dry season, which runs from June to October, is the ideal time to visit the Selous Game Reserve. Because it congregates around scarce water sources and there is less vegetation during this time, it is much simpler to spot wildlife. It is the perfect time to go on safari because there are fewer mosquitoes and a lower chance of getting malaria because of the clear, sunny skies.
Additionally, it coincides with the busiest time of year for tourists, when the Rufiji River neighborhood can get crowded. Despite the low humidity and pleasant temperatures, visitors should be aware that it can be quite dusty during this time.
The first rains start to fall in October, turning the landscape lush green. The best time to go bird watching in the Selous Game Reserve is during the rainy season, when migratory birds swarm to the wetlands and many lodges offer steep discounts.
It’s important to keep in mind that during the months of March, April, and May, when the heaviest rains fall, many lodges completely close and some roads become extremely muddy. While some animals start leaving their feeding grounds for areas that are more fertile, if you pick your lodge or camp wisely, you might be treated to some amazing wildlife encounters during the “wet”.
WHERE TO STAY IN THE SELOUS GAME RESERVE
There are many options for those looking to go on a luxury safari in Tanzania, most of which are concentrated in the northern part of the Selous Game Reserve. You can take part in daily game drives, boat safaris, and both short and long walking safaris, in addition to luxurious accommodations with all the modern comforts.
You can go days on a private safari in Tanzania without seeing another vehicle because the lodges and camps in the western part of the Selous Game Reserve are fairly dispersed. Alternatively, select one of the lodges and camps in the reserve’s east, which is renowned for its lion and wildcat sightings.